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New Sirenia Digest Poll

So, a new Sirenia Digest poll. On Tuesday, I was speaking with Bill Shafer at Subterranean Press about possible strategies for increasing the readership of the digest, as well as freeing up more of my time for full-length short-story work. I'm a little disturbed that over the last year I've only written one short story, "Night," and one novella, "Bainbridge." One idea that emerged is that I might change the format of the digest from something which is primarily devoted to dark fantasy/horror/sf erotica, to a publication which would offer readers one brand-new, full-length sf or dark fantasy story per month. Say 7,000-15,000 words, depending on the story, and I'm thinking I'd mostly be doing short fiction along the lines of "Riding the White Bull" and "Bradbury Weather," as well as new "yellow house" stories about the ghouls and changelings, etc. The length of the digest would remain the same, only the content would change. There'd still be illustrations. And I'd probably still toss in a vignette every now and then.

My goal is to raise the number of subscribers from 145 to 200, which would put me on more solid financial ground while I'm writing the next novel, Joey LaFay. It really doesn't seem like it should be that difficult to pull off. I've heard from many readers over the last seven months or so who say they'd subscribe to the digest if it weren't erotica. So, I'm hoping this shift could be made, sometime this summer, if not sooner, and that we'd gain a significant number of readers while losing no one. Here's your chance to be heard on this proposed change. Please vote, and comments and questions are very welcomed.

Poll #727054 The Nature of the Beast.

If you're already a subscriber, how would you feel about the proposed format change?

Fine with me.
I'd prefer it to the current format.
I'd cancel my subscription.

If you're not currently a subscriber, how might you feel about the proposed format change?

After the change, I would subscribe.
I still would not be interested.



( 20 comments — Have your say! )
May. 11th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
Admittedly, I love your fiction of any sort. I subscribed right away, and have loved every issue I've gotten. I'm sure I will continue to love what comes in the future. However, I will be very sad to see less erotica - it has been really, really fantastic.
May. 12th, 2006 12:11 am (UTC)
It's not so much that I would not be interested, for I am, it's that I cannot currently afford it. (although it's reasonable for what you are getting.)
May. 12th, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
Exactly what I wanted to say. In fact, since I can't afford it at this time, I'd probably weep every time a new one is released!
May. 12th, 2006 01:55 am (UTC)
The erotica's very good, but a full length short story each month would be splendid. Just out of curiosity, do you think you'll have any trouble trying to write one whole short story each month as compared to the vignettes? I do remember noting on more than a few occasions when you mentioned in the journal that you'd had to toss a story idea aside because it was evolving into a full length tale instead of just a vignette, so maybe taking the limitations off the format would be a good thing both for you and future subscribers.
May. 12th, 2006 02:01 am (UTC)
Just out of curiosity, do you think you'll have any trouble trying to write one whole short story each month as compared to the vignettes?

I don't think so. It would be much easier, for instance, than doing a Dreaming script once a month. :-)
May. 12th, 2006 02:06 am (UTC)
It would be much easier, for instance, than doing a Dreaming script once a month. :-)

Ha, I bet! Somehow it always fails to enter my mind that you used to do comics on such a rigid schedule, back in the day. But, good to hear. I'd hate to see the Digest go away due to not having enough time for other stories, so I like the idea of incorporating them into it.

May. 12th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
Somehow it always fails to enter my mind that you used to do comics on such a rigid schedule, back in the day.

I think a lot of people tend to forget this, alas.
May. 12th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC)
I would probably keep my subscription even if you sent out meatloaf recipes every month. As long as they involved fetus-meat or something.
May. 12th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
I would probably keep my subscription even if you sent out meatloaf recipes every month.

Ooooh. There's a thought!
May. 12th, 2006 05:24 am (UTC)
forget the comics? as one who paid what was likely too much money (and i wish it would have gone directly to you and not a comics dealer) for "the girl who would be death," i say: never!
here's my two cents on the digest:
i initially wanted to wait to subscribe until i'd read FT&T. however, worried that all the slots would fill up, i subscribed anyway. i have not been disappointed. grant: what with my different libido and all, i haven't found the stories from FT&T or SD necessarily erotic (to me--save the bit in the last issue about the lawyer with the labia piercings), i am still constantly amazed by your way with words and the worlds you can conjure. i'd keep my subscription to SD if it continued to be erotica, and i'd keep it if it changed formats. when it comes to authros i enjoy, i'm a collector, and SD showing up in my inbox each month always feels like something very, very special.

also wanted to say thanks for the SF casting game. after my last final yesterday, i was able to devote the time and imagination to my character that most everyone else did. its been a blast. (check out my entry from yesterday, "sid vicious died for your sins" if you're at all interested in the beast you've spawned. :) )
May. 12th, 2006 05:25 am (UTC)
I have been considering subscribing but I am quitting my job in a couple weeks so haven't been able to justify the expense. I'd love to read the stories, though, and am very interested in the digest, once I get a new job. I know I personally have been hesitant about the erotica aspect, just because it's not so much my cup of tea, and I would probably be more inclined to subscribe if it wasn't solely focused on erotica.

One thing I was wondering, have you considered making it so that people can pay for and read old digests? Like, if you want to read say March's digest, you could order that one? I'm thinking of it like back issues of magazines, kind of. Possibly selfishly, so that once I get a new job I can read the old ones I couldn't afford at the time. But I suppose that would possibly be against the philosophy of the thing, or would create a lot of extra work? I'm not really sure on those aspects of the idea, but I think it has merit.
May. 12th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC)

The issues live on our computers, so if someone wants a back issue, it's something relatively easy to accomplish.
May. 12th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC)
Fabulous news! You will be hearing from me regarding this in a few months (hopefully less!). :)

You might want to consider spreading the word on that; maybe put it on the Digest page. I can only imagine that there are other late-comers who would want to read old issues as well, and hey, more money is more money, right?
May. 12th, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC)
Fine with me
My only concern/ one of the things I like the best about SD. Is that you
don't lose the experimental side of things (in particular the wide variety
of tempo).
May. 12th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
i would louvre sf!!! but i'll keep my subscription no matter what.
May. 12th, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
Have you considered selling back issues? I imagine that it would be relatively straightforward to set up a page under the Sirenia section that gives a list of the previous Sirenia stories in each digest, along with a short one-sentence description, and possibly a designator for erotic content to alert those who might be squeamish. Place a link next to each issue's description to allow the person to purchase that issue (say for $15 rather than $10 - subscribers get it cheaper!) via Paypal. Once you received an email that a particular issue had been purchased, you'd email the PDF to the buyer.

A system like this would also allow you to offer new subscribers any back issues that they missed and would like to acquire - they'd look at the list, email their requests to you, and if they're on the currently-subscribed list they would get charged the subscriber price (you'd send them a Paypal invoice for the total, based on the number of back issues they wanted).

May. 12th, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC)
I would miss the porn, but I might be one of the few who was actually gleefully, guiltlessly indulging in the opportunity to enjoy tastysmut by one of my favorite writers. Would it be possible to place the erotica on the back burner rather than in the trash entirely? Regardless, I'm keeping my subscription.
May. 12th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
I had to mark the "not interested" simply because there was not a button for my real answer: no subscribing for me until I've got a steady job. :(

But I do plan on subscribing once that happens, and the proposed format change sounds just fine to me.
May. 12th, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC)
I don't see it as much of a change, really
While I've enjoyed Sirenia Digest so far, except for some of the most recent stuff (the nice piece about the girl with the tail in particular) it doesn't really seem like erotica to me.

Perhaps though my scale is not well-calibrated. Eroticism is largely subjective.

Either way, I'd love to see you continue the material, both for its own sake and also because I'd like to see this experiment in alternative funding for the literary arts continue.
May. 16th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
I have an idea for publicity... what would you think of designing an official Flyer, complete with gorgeously sexy artwork, for Sirenia Digest?

I would print them & distribute them all over the University, at cafes, book shops, Pagan shops, & art galleries. I'm sure other readers would gladly offer to do the same in their towns.

( 20 comments — Have your say! )